Your personal brand is what others “see” when you interact with them. You may not be aware that you have a personal brand, but when you connect with someone, they react with emotions just as much as logic (if not more). Your core principals, values, ethics and mindset shine through. After all, isn’t it true that we prefer to be around people that we know, like and trust? Projecting that positive image begins within. It begins with grounding yourself with essential elements that create the image of the brand you want to project.
But what are these elements? They may seem elusive. Consider that the heart of your personal brand is your sense of purpose. What do you want to get out of life? This may seem equally elusive, but once answered, the elements of personal brand begin to fall into place.
To get some inspiration, or to “prime the pump” on this subject, consider the advice given by James E. Ryan, Dean of Harvard’s School of Education to the graduating class of 2016 (available on Youtube). He humorously cites 5 simple questions that spark a deeper contemplation of what’s important in life. These 5 simple questions cultivate sound principles that generate understanding, spark curiosity, initiate progress, fortify relationships, and focus on the bigger picture. His questions are:
- “Wait, What?” is at the root of all understanding.
- “I Wonder….?” is at the heart of all curiosity.
- “Couldn’t We at Least….?” is the beginning of all progress.
- “How Can I Help?” is at the base of all good relationships.
- “What Truly Matters?” gets you to the heart of life
The point that Dean Ryan makes is that by asking these questions regularly, you will be positioned to achieve your purpose in life. By asking these questions regularly, you will also cultivate your emotional intelligence and develop your personal brand. What part do understanding, empathy, curiosity, initiative and relationship building play in your personal brand?
Your personal brand shines through in every role you play – at work and at play, with friends, family or business associates. Be proactive and consciously shape your personal brand. Your personal brand will enhance your communication skills, build relationships, and help achieve goals. What do you want others to see in you?
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